BIO Praises Congress, President for Supporting Research on Biofuels

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 22, 2000) --The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today applauded Congress and President Clinton for their support of research into use of biomass as an alternative source of energy, transportation fuels and other products.

Biomass is a term used to describe any agricultural waste product containing celluose, which is a renewable, environmentally friendly source of energy. Biotechnology companies are the leaders in developing cost-effective ways of converting biomass into energy products, such as ethanol, which makes gasoline burn more cleanly and efficiently.

President Clinton signed the National Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals Act this week, allocating $49 million annually over the next five years to support research into applications of biomass. The program will be operated jointly by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy, which will establish a Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals Board to guide the effort.

BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum said, The research funded by this new law will help biorefineries of the future convert waste from corn, soybeans, rice, timber and other plants into transportation fuels to help reduce our reliance on foreign sources of petroleum. This legislation also could help reduce gasoline production costs.

Brent Erickson, BIO’s director of industrial and environmentalbiotechnology, said, This new federal initiative will help assure that new enzymes are developed that can help break down biomass in a more cost-effective manner. This, in turn, will help the United States produce cleaner transportation fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Legislation creating the National Sustainable Fuels and ChemicalsAct was introduced by U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and U.S. Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

BIO represents more than 900 companies, academic institutionsand state biotech centers in 49 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental products.